Danville History

Danville sits in the San Ramon Valley between Mt Diablo to the East and the Las Trampas Hills to the West. Until the railroad arrived in 1891, it was a tiny little village. The few homes that existed were built near the creek on Waterfront Street (now shortened to Front Street). Some still exist.

 

Village House 1 Village House 2
Village House 1 Village House 2

 

The railroad brought growth and development and the town gained a hotel and a depot. Both buildings have been moved from their original locations. The hotel is no longer a hotel but a commercial building and the depot now houses the Museum of the San Ramon Valley.

 

Danville Hotel Museum of the San Ramon Valley
Danville Hotel Museum of the San Ramon Valley

 

As more people came, they too settled in the downtown area. Today their former homes have been preserved but few remained residences. Most are used for businesses.

 

Father Nature's Leku Eder Vecki House
Father Nature's Leku Eder Vecki House

 

Not only are many former homes preserved and protected but so are many of Danville's large trees that abound. One such tree, reputed to be more than 350 years old, is located on Diablo Road and is the town's logo. Another one is in the middle of an intersection where Danville's major streets meet. While a third provides shade for customers at a local restaurant.

 

Old Oak Tree, Diablo Road Crossroads Tree Tree at Linda Mesa & Hartz
Old Oak Tree, Diablo Road Crossroads Tree Tree at Linda Mesa & Hartz

 

Danville has tried hard to preserve its historical buildings. The Village Theater is an example. It continues to offer live performances by local groups. Its famous neighbor is Bridges Restaurant where "Mrs. Doubtfire" with Robin Williams was filmed. Behind it is Danville's Old Town Hall where local government convenes. And just a short distance away is the Library, The Community Center, and the Eugene O'Neill Commemorative Park. In the late `30's O'Neill and his wife chose to live in Danville after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature.

 

Diablo Road Tree Bridges Old Town Hall
Village Theater Bridges Old Town Hall
Library Community Center Eugene O'Neill Commemorative Park
Library Community Center Eugene O'Neill
Commemorative Park

 

Eventually the railroad abandoned its right of way. The track was removed and the land paved as a walking/jogging trail. Growth spread away from the downtown. Eventually another major shopping area called the Livery was built. Nestled among redwoods it has a rustic ambience all its own.

 

Livery 1 Livery 2
Livery 1 Livery 2

 

While relatively few new buildings have been added to the town, there has been an increase in modern structures in the past few years. Construction projects such as these are bringing a more contemporary feel in some places. Still, much of downtown Danville maintains its quaint and charming atmosphere where people like to... shop, dine and play.

 

SRV Blvd Bldg Prospectors Square DVB Bldg Hartz Flowers Prospect Alley
SRV Blvd Bldg Prospectors Square DVB Bldg Hartz Flowers Prospect Alley

 

Linda Stolow 2007.